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August 2017 Archives

Printable Issue 3612  Today is Tuesday, August 1st, 2017; Karen's Korner #3612

I had lots of nice comments from yesterday's Karen's Korner.

Some were from those who had experienced similar losses with comments like 'Mom used to say to take one day at a time and pray'. Or 'my parents never got over the death of my brother'.

Still another couple comments, 'I am keeping your thoughts for the future. Never know when I might need it or be able to share with someone else.'

As I responded to one friend who complemented me on 'my strength', I typed, "not strength......known weakness. I can't handle things like Merry's (or Jim's) death'.

I also responded to several of you with these words:

"You will never guess, after I sent yesterday's Karen's Korner, I was sorting clothes in my basement. It seemed like God was telling me that 'today was a day to CELEBRATE!'

Didn't plan on anything special happening.....

"We are not supposed to 'endure' our days, we are to 'celebrate' them.......all of them. Everything! Even the things we don't care much for. Drives the devil nuts. He wants us sad, confused, frustrated. What happens when we don't do that?"

Printable Issue 3613  Today is Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017; Karen's Korner #3613

Seems like there is nearly always something on the horizon in life (if not ours, someone we know) that we don't like very much. This is an excerpt from Max Lucado's book 'You'll Get Through This":

"Have you wept your final tear or received your last round of chemotherapy? Not necessarily. Will your unhappy marriage become happy in a heartbeat? Not likely. Does God guarantee the absence of struggle and the abundance of strength? Not in this life. But He does pledge to reweave your pain for a higher purpose.

"It won't be quick. Sometimes God takes His time. Twenty years to prepare Noah for the flood, eighty years to prepare Moses for his work. How long will God take with you? He may take His time. His history is redeemed not in minutes but in lifetimes. We see a perfect mess; God sees a perfect chance to train, test, and teach. We see a prison; God sees boot camp. What Satan intends for evil; God redeems for good!"


Printable Issue 3614  Today is Thursday, August 3rd, 2017; Karen's Korner #3614

The Home of Your Dreams

"I am making everything new!"

~ Revelation 21:5 NIV

"We all have dreams of what home should be like.......Do you dream of a home with love and laughter and loyalty, with family and fun and freedom?

"Do you dream of a home where you are accepted, encouraged, and challenged, forgiven, understood, and comforted?

"There is hope! The home you've always wanted, the home you continue to long for with all your heart, is the home God is preparing for you! As John gazed at a vision of the glory of Jesus Christ......., he stood in awed wonder of a 'new heaven and a new earth' (Revelation 21:1 NIV). What he saw was confirmed by the words of One who was seated on the throne:  'I am making everything new!' Imagine it:  One day, in the dream home of My Father's House, everything will be brand-new and you will live in the home of your dreams."

~ By Anne Graham Lotz


Printable Issue 3615  Today is Friday, August 4th, 2017; Karen's Korner #3615

Because I am having a couple dozen of my Zirbel cousins here tomorrow for a reunion, this verse really stood out to me this morning.

As always there are a lot more of us, but these are the ones who can come.

"When God's children are in need, you be the one to help them out. And get into the habit of inviting guests home for dinner or, if they need lodging, for the night."

~ Romans 8:13 LAB


Bible Commentary:  "Christian hospitality is different from the world's way of entertaining. Entertaining focuses on the host family-----their home must be spotless, their food must be well prepared and abundant; they must appear relaxed and good natured. Hospitality, by contrast, focuses on the guests. Their needs----whether for a place to stay, nourishing food, a listening ear, acceptance---are of first importance. Hospitality can happen in a messy home. It can happen around a dinner table where the main dish is canned soup. It can even happen while the host and guest are doing chores together. Don't be afraid to offer hospitality just because you are too tired, too busy, or too poor to entertain."


Printable Issue 3616  Today is Monday, August 7th, 2017; Karen's Korner #3616

Something written by Max Lucado. We need God as our refuge at all times. But sometimes we are more needy than others. If you don't have a great big need today, someone in your life might. My dictionary gives the definition of 'refuge' as 'a shelter or protection; a safe place to stay'. I'll take one of those!

God, Our Refuge

"Refuge is a favorite word of David's. You will count as many as forty-plus appearances in some versions of the Bible. But never did David use the word more poignantly than in Psalm 57. The introduction to the passage explains its background.......'A song of David when he fled from Saul into the cave.' Lost in shadows and thought, he has nowhere to turn. To go home, he endangers his family. To go to the tabernacle, he imperils the priests. Saul will kill him. Here he sits, all alone. But then he remembers he is not. And from the recesses of the cave a sweet voice floats.

"'Be merciful to me, O God! For my soul trusts in You, and in the shadow of Your wings I make my refuge.' (Psalm 57:1)

"Make God your refuge. Let Him be the foundation on which you stand!"


Printable Issue 3617  Today is Tuesday, August 8th, 2017; Karen's Korner #3617

A couple of unrelated thoughts from my gardens.

Several weeks ago I purchased a couple of decorative shrubs at a year-end closeout sale. Because of the time of the year and as dry as it is this summer, I knew that I would have to do some extra watering.

One of the bushes thrived from the beginning. The other drooped.

What to do? Do I keep watering? Or start over? It was bad enough that I looked to see if the same retailer had another one for a replacement. No luck.

I continued to water.

In just the last few days, here it comes. Looking better and more alive all the time. I was close to pulling it up. Now I think it is going to survive and thrive.

THOUGHT:  Even when someone in our lives (maybe ourselves) looks a little tired or droopy, it might be time to keep watering and believing in what we don't see at the moment.


I plant and care for a 30' x 2' concrete planter in Clarion annually.

This year there a red, white, and blue (aka purple) petunias.

I noted a few weeks ago that at the end of the planter, a marigold was beginning to grow.

I didn't pull it out when I weeded.

Now there is a bright yellow flower in the midst of the patriotic floral colors.

THOUGHT:  We are to bloom where we are planted.......and maybe where we aren't!


A short thought sent by sister Jill last night:

"Your life is a garden.

Your thoughts are the seeds.

If your life isn't awesome, you've been watering the weeds!"


Dear Father in Heaven, thank You that You continue to water us and believe in us; maybe at times when we don't believe in ourselves. Sometimes we are 'transplanted' to places we would rather not be. But we can bloom there just as well. Keep our thoughts on You; not on the weeds of useless thoughts designed to bring us down. Today is a good day to walk, to smile, to enjoy the life which You have given to us. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Printable Issue 3618  Today is Wednesday, August 9th, 2017; Karen's Korner #3618

"Always give thanks for everything to our God and Father

in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

~ Ephesians 5:20 LAB


Bible Commentary:  "When you feel down, you may find it difficult to give thanks. Take heart--God works all things out for good if we love Him and are fitting into His plans (Romans 8:28). Thank God, not for your problems, but for the strength He is building in you through the difficult experiences of your life. You can be sure that God's perfect love will see you through."


Printable Issue 3619  Today is Thursday, August 10th, 2017; Karen's Korner #3619

(I will be away from my computer tomorrow, so no Karen's Korner).

Something written by Sarah Young and her "Jesus Calling:  Enjoying Peace in His Presence" from several weeks ago:

"I am nearer than you think, richly present in all your moments. You are connected to Me by Love-bonds that nothing can sever. However, you may sometimes feel alone, because your union with Me is invisible. Ask Me to open your eyes, so that you can find Me everywhere. The more aware you are of My Presence, the safer you feel. This is not some sort of escape from reality; it Is tuning in to ultimate reality. I am for more Real than the world you can see, hear, and touch. Faith is the confirmation of things we do not see and the conviction of their reality, perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses."

~ Taken from Acts 17:27-28; Hebrews 11:1 (AMP)


Printable Issue 3620  Today is Monday, August 14th, 2017; Karen's Korner #3620

Back after a few days away. A group of fifteen from our area traveled together to visit Noah's Ark and the Creation Museum in the Kentucky/Ohio area. We had the opportunity to meet old friends - and not long ago off the mission field in Mozambique - Jacob and Jaynie Michael.

I'll make a few comments on upcoming Karen's Korners about some of the things we saw, learned, and experienced.

It was ten years ago this month that nine of us from the Clarion area traveled to Poland on a 10-day mission trip. In following years, we have traveled on shorter mission trips nearly annually.

Jim and I did extensive traveling in our 45 years of married life. Many trips took place in the twenty-plus years following his early retirement.

When we would travel, we had the some philosophy:  'things are going to happen on the trip that we don't like. But we are going to have a good time'. It was always a decision. If we weren't going to enjoy our time away, maybe we should stay home.

I always give the same 'speech' to each travel group in which I am involved. "Let's enjoy the trip regardless!"

As the Welds traveled; as our mission trips have helped in various places, we have experienced:  flight delays; lost luggage; misplaced items, being lost; money disappearing unexpectedly. You name it! But being frustrated. Angry. Upset. It wasn't part of our mindset.

I gave a similar speech before leaving on Thursday morning early "get ready", "we are gong to have a good time".

Maybe that should be our mantra for every day:  regardless of what happens:  "We are going to enjoy the trip!"

What major or small disaster happened in our four days away?

Not one thing! No flat tires. No illnesses. No angry nor frustrated participants.

But we were prepared to enjoy the trip.......no matter what happened!

Printable Issue 3621  Today is Tuesday, August 15th, 2017; Karen's Korner #3621

Both the Creation Museum and Noah's Ark replica are spearheaded by Ken Ham. He is termed a Christian fundamentalist and a 'young earth creationist'. He believes in the literal interpretation of the Bible.

Some say that a 'day' in the Bible means 'some amount of time'; may be longer or shorter than what we call a 'day'. Because of some Bible original writings and many references to 'day' throughout the Bible, Ham believes a day is 24 hours just like today.

Which do I believe? Either is possible. Do I believe our God could make all of His creation in a that amount of time? I think He could have. Am I sure? No, but it doesn't make a difference to me. I agree that God created all of this and set it into motion.

According to the Bible, the first verse and first chapter of Genesis say "In the beginning God created....".

Among other things, on the first day, "God said let there be light. And said it was good."

The second day, God separated waters and made the sky. God saw that it was good.

Third day: God made the plants and trees and seeds. God saw it was good.

Fourth day:  Next came sun and moon. God saw that it was good.

Fifth day: Next came the animals. And God saw that it was good.

Sixth day before God rested on day seven:  God said, "Let us make man in our image...to rule over all the earth." But this time God said, "It was very good."

Did you catch that? According to God, His creation was good. But we, created in His image, was very good!

So one time today, look in your mirror and say, "Hmmm, God says I am very good!"

Printable Issue 3622  Today is Wednesday, August 16th, 2017; Karen's Korner #3622

The replica of Noah's Ark, actual size was something to see. It was BIG!

Some of the information was Biblical:  size of the ark is specifically mentioned in Genesis. Some of what we saw was what I'd call 'artist interpretation', as every detail is not mentioned in the Bible.

It amazes me to think that God 'created' in Genesis 1 and by Genesis chapter 6, He is telling Noah to build this big boat, as 'He was very sorry He'd made them...'

Because Noah was the 'only truly righteous man living on the earth at that time', he and his family and all the animals would be spared from the oncoming disastrous flood.

One hundred years after the beginning of the ark construction with Noah at the age of 600, they were ready to 'float the boat'.

The next step was for Noah, his three sons plus their wives and all of the animals to get on the boat!

When I observed the size of the ark with its three complete levels, I couldn't help but marvel at all the work those eight people would have to do daily to take care of every creature enduring the storm together.

This was no cruise ship; there was lots of work to be done for days!

It makes me think about us:  we want to 'get on board God's ark' to be saved from the oncoming disaster. But once we get on the ship, do we pull out the deck chairs and enjoy the Son-shine. Or do we ask God what kind of work needs to be done to 'take care of His animals'?

Printable Issue 3623  Today is Thursday, August 17th, 2017; Karen's Korner #3623

Today's Sarah Young and her 'Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence":

"Find Me in the midst of maelstrom. Sometimes events whirl around you so quickly that they become a blur. Whisper My Name in recognition that I am still with you. Without skipping a beat in the activities that occupy you, you find  strength and Peace through praying My Name. Later, when the happenings have run their course, you can talk with Me more fully.

"Accept each day just as it comes to you. Do not waste your time and energy wishing for a different set of circumstances. Instead, trust Me enough to yield My loving Presence; you are Mine."

~ Philippians 2:9 -11; Isaiah 43:1


Printable Issue 3624  Today is Friday, August 18th, 2017; Karen's Korner #3624

Since our trip to Noah's Ark and the Creation Museum, I have decided to re-read Genesis.

Here are a couple of verses from my reading plus commentary. It is God speaking:

"Look, I am going to cover the earth with a flood and destroy every living being---everything in which there is breath of life. All will die. But I promise to keep you safe in the ship, with your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring a pair of every animal---a male and female---into the boat with you, to keep them alive through the flood. Bring in a pair of each kind of bird and animal and reptile. Store away in the boat all the food that they and you will need. And Noah did everything as God commanded him."

~ Genesis 6:17 - 22 LAB


Bible Commentary:  "Noah got right to work when God told him to build the ark. The other people must have been warned about the coming disaster, but apparently they did not expect it to happen. Today things haven't changed much. Each day thousands of people are warned of God's inevitable judgment, yet most of them don't really believe it will happen. Don't expect people to welcome or accept your message of God's coming judgment of sin. Those who don't believe in God will deny his judgment and try to get you to deny God as well. But remember God's promise to Noah to keep him safe. This can inspire you to trust God for deliverance in the judgment that is sure to come."


Printable Issue 3625  Today is Sunday, August 20th, 2017; Karen's Korner #3625

(A week ago, I missed having 'five Karen's Korners'. As readers know, I like have the 'sets of five' because, for instance - all Friday's Korners end in '0' or '5'. So to keep my 'set going', here is a Friday Korner on Sunday!)

Written by and sent from Bob Vander Platts of the Iowa Family Leader as students and teachers return to school this week:

"Lord, we pray in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ for school boards, administrators, staff, and teachers -- all that are in authority -- and ask that they find first the beginning of wisdom, that is the fear of the Lord and salvation in Jesus' name.

"Lord, we pray for our Christian brothers and sisters at work in the schools, that they would honor You and model You find strength in You. Protect them, Father, and encourage them, and grant them opportunity and courage to share Your love and truth.

"And Lord, we pray for the nation's students, that in learning, they would learn of You. That in exploring, they would find You. And that in growing, they would grow ever closer to You, that they may be saved and 'come unto the knowledge of the truth'.



Printable Issue 3626  Today is Monday, August 21st, 2017; Karen's Korner #3626

Today is the day some people have waited for, for a long time! The eclipse is coming!!

We have seen eclipses before but what makes this one special is that it is the moon totally covering the sun......100%, first time to be witnessed in the U.S. since 1908. This morning I heard a broadcaster say the sun is 400 times larger than the moon. But the moon is 400 times closer to the earth, so that it completely blocks out the sun.

It seems like a miracle to me! I looked up the word 'miracle' in the dictionary; several of the definitions include 'an amazing or remarkable thing; a marvel'. It also states: 'thought of as caused by God (or a god)'.

As much as the eclipse is a 'miracle', the fact that it can be predicted and we know that it will happen is a 'marvel'! Our universe is so well-ordered. We can tell ahead of time what time the sun will come up and set each day. And it changes every day. Then it actually happens.

Sometimes we think of a miracle as something special that happens to someone. Probably not us.

What about the 'every day' ones that are all around us? Like:

* a newborn baby;

* dry seeds, covered in the ground.......and return to life;

* how our bodies recover from an illness or a broken bone;

* how a baby goes from not knowing any language, but can spew hundreds of words by two or so;

* how wonderful our minds are with the ability to do so many tasks. Create so many things.

And the list goes on! If you have a list of miracles.........share them with me. And I might include them in a Karen's Korner in the future!

Thank You, God, that You have included us in Your plan! We are all miracles.......'knit together in our mother's womb'! Help us to see things from Your point of view. The fact that You want to be part of our everyday lives is just another miracle, straight from Your hand and heart! We are filled with Your Love. Amen.

Printable Issue 3627  Today is Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017; Karen's Korner #3627

This is today's Max Lucado inspirational thought:


"There is a correlation between the way you feel about yourself and the way you feel about others. If you are at peace with yourself, you will get along with others. The converse is also true. If you don't like yourself, if you are ashamed, embarrassed, or angry, other people are going to know it. Unless the cycle is interrupted!

"Which takes us to one of the kindest verses in the Bible. Jesus said, 'Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Accept my teachings and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives'. (Matthew 11:28-29)

"'Come to me,' the verse reads! Let Christ be kind to you.......and as you do, you'll find it easier to be kind to others."


Printable Issue 3628  Today is Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017; Karen's Korner #3628

School starts for many this week (at least in Iowa!).

What God thinks about children:

"Children are a gift from God; they are HIs reward. Children born to a young man are like sharp arrows to defend him.

"Happy is a man who has his quiver full of them. That man shall have the help he needs when arguing with his enemies."

~ Psalm 127:3 - 5 LAB


Bible Commentary on these three verses:  "Children are too often seen as liabilities rather than assets. But the Bible calls children 'a gift from God', a reward. We can also learn valuable lessons from their inquisitive minds and trusting spirits. Those view children as a distraction or nuisance should instead see them as an opportunity to shape the future. We dare not treat them as an inconvenience when God values them so highly."


Today might be a good day to give a child an extra hug; send an extra note, email, or call!


Printable Issue 3629  Today is Thursday, August 24th, 2017; Karen's Korner #3629

God's Boundaries

"You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil..."

~ Genesis 2:16 - 17 NIV


"In the first home, the Lord God taught man the difference between right and wrong. Adam needed to know what his boundaries were, what was acceptable to God and what was not.

"Can you imagine the chaos that would result if a multilane highway had no painted markings to give direction to the traffic? Accidents and confusion would be the order of the day. No one complains about or resents the marking because drivers know the painted boundaries exist for their own benefit and safety.

"Today we are surrounded by a generation of people who have grown up living according to their own moral codes, defying the boundaries set by God. As a result, it is a generation with no peace or sense of security. The statistic on crime, divorce, abortion, and suicide give eloquent witness to the danger of living outside God's boundaries. He has drawn the lines --- we need to stay within them!"

~ By Anne Graham Lotz


Dear Father in Heaven, we know what God is saying here is true. Show us Your way; remind us what we need to do and not do. Then we are going to need Your help to actually do it! We praise You for Your handiwork in our lives. Amen.


Printable Issue 3630  Today is Monday, August 28th, 2017; Karen's Korner #3630

Last Monday the news was all about the eclipse. This week it is all about Hurricane Harvey.

One seemed totally calculated and 'in control'. The other seems like it is 'out of control'.

Does either shock God? He controls both!

We knew ahead of time and prepared for the eclipse. Many ran to get a better picture of it. We were alerted to the impending hurricane and made quick plans to avoid as much disaster as possible.

But God can use both! Many times we don't understand 'bad' things. And we certainly don't like them! God tells us 'all that happens to us is working for our good if we love Him and are fitting into His plans' (Romans 8:28 LAB). Sounds pretty optimistic; maybe even cruel at times. But we so often are overly concerned about our here and now; God is concerned about today but more so about all of our tomorrows, into eternity! Sometimes 'bad things' make us take a second look at a longer range picture.

During the eclipse, the sun never stopped shining. It was the moon that moved in front of it.......and caused everything (in the total eclipse route) to go completely dark. Just as quickly, the moon moved out of the way.

Same is true for God and how he operates. Sometimes the 'Light of His Love' is obstructed, for a short time by something that covers His Light.

Let's pray today for everyone affected in any way by Hurricane Harvey. Let's pray that the predicted rains are less than the weather forecasters project. Let's pray that all of us can work together as we lessen the negative impacts to people. Let's look for miracles in the midst of the storm. Help us to look, listen and thank God for so many things. Like the absence of nearly any loss of life. And our list could go on.......

We sang this song at worship service yesterday. Here are a couple of its verses:

Shine Jesus Shine

By Crystal Lewis

Lord the light of Your love is shining

In the midst of the darkness, shining

Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us

Set us free by the truth You now bring us

Shine on me

Shine on me

Shine, Jesus, shine

Fill this land with the Father's glory

Blaze, Spirit, blaze, Set our hearts on fire

Flow, river, flow

Flood the nations with grace and mercy

Send forth Your Word, Lord. And let there be light


Printable Issue 3631  Today is Tuesday, August 29th, 2017; Karen's Korner #3631

Something penned by Max Lucado. He talks about prayer. I don't anyone who believes they have 'arrived' in praying they way they should; as often as they could. I'd include myself in that category. Here's his take on it:

Deeping Your Prayer Life

"Do you want to know how to deepen your prayer life? The Bible instructs in Romans 12:12 to 'steadfastly maintain the habit of prayer'. Though there are many bad habits, there are also many good ones. At the risk of sounding like a preacher---which is what I am---may I make a suggestion? Don't prepare to pray. Just pray. Don't read about prayer. Just pray. Don't attend a lecture on prayer or engage in discussion about prayer.

"Just pray. Posture, tone, and place are personal matters. Select the form that works for you but don't think about it too much. Don't be so overly concerned with wrapping the gift that you never give it. Better to pray awkwardly than not at all. And if you feel you should only pray when inspired, that's okay. Just see to it that you are inspired every day!"


Printable Issue 3632  Today is Wednesday, August 30th, 2017; Karen's Korner #3632

The Bible is a book of Love and opportunities for 'do overs' for all of us:

"Yes, all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious ideal;

yet now God declares us 'not guilty' of offending Him if we trust in Jesus Christ,

who in His kindness freely takes away our sins."

~ Romans 3:23 &24 LAB


Bible Commentary:  "Some sins seem bigger than others because their obvious consequences are much more serious. Murder, for example, seems to us to be worse than hatred; and adultery seems worse than lust. But this does not mean we can get away with some sins and not others. All sin makes us sinners, and all sin cuts us off from our Holy God. All sin, therefore, leads to death (because it disqualifies us from living with God), regardless of how great or small it seems. Don't minimize 'little' sins or overrate 'big' sins. They all separate us from God, but they all can be forgiven.

"When a judge in court of law declares the defendant not guilty, all the charges are removed from His record. Legally, it is as if the person had never been accused. When God forgives our sins, our record is wiped clean. From His perspective, it is though we had never sinned in the first place."


Printable Issue 3633  Today is Thursday, August 31st, 2017; Karen's Korner #3633

A Life that Works

"There is a way that seems right to man, but its end is the way of death."

~ Proverbs 14:12 NKJV


"The first seventeen verses of Genesis 9 are a direct quotation in God's own words giving principles for you and me and the entire human race to live by. If we want to live a life that works, overcoming the weakness that resides in all of us, we must heed these principles. If we do not want to heed these principles, we have that freedom, but we will never live a life that works as it was created to work in the beginning. It would be similar to having a new computer with the most cutting edge technology, but using it only as a typewriter. It would do the job, but it wouldn't even come close to fulfilling its potential. If we do not heed God's principles for our lives, you and I can exist on this planet yet not even come close to fulfilling out potential or experiencing the abundant life God intended for us.

"One primary reason for the collapse of society all around us is due to indifference and outright rejection of God's principles. Our human weaknesses have become dominant, and life just does not work. So.......for our own good, we need to read God's Word and live by His principles......and enjoy a life that works!"

~ By Anne Graham Lotz